At Formula One, Paris Hilton Proves Perfect Spokesperson For Hilton


Paris Hilton was the It-Girl of her generation, playing the character of madcap heiress on television and in the tabloids long before the term “influencer” was invented.

I was never a Paris Hilton fan. I was certainly the wrong generation, and perhaps the wrong gender as well. And I didn’t get the joke about her popular 2003 heiress-down-on-the-farm reality show The Simple Life, which struck me as the ultimate in vacuity.

But I got to meet Paris at Formula One in Las Vegas. She is now a spokesperson for Hilton Hotels advertising and marketing campaign “Hilton. For the Stay.” (Hilton Hotels is a sponsor for the McLaren Formula One team.)

I came away with a new view of her. It wasn’t the old celebrity journalism standby, “Stars—they’re just like us!”

Very clearly, Paris Hilton, who came out in a skintight racing suit branded with the Hilton name, is not like most of us. (Although her recent memoir, detailing her teenage rebelliousness, inappropriate relationships abuse at a residential school for troubled teens and an ADHD diagnosis, shows struggles many will relate to.)

Paris Hilton was one of many celebrities at Formula One. Sofia Vergara, Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Bieber, Tobey Maguire, Brooklyn Beckham, James Harden and Tyga also attended.

But aside from Bieber, who waved the race-ending checkered flag and later performed, Paris Hilton was one of a handful of celebrities at F1 to work, rather than party.

For example, more than 400 private jets flew in and out of Las Vegas for the race, delaying my Southwest flight an hour and a half. When we landed in Burbank, the pilot apologized for the flight being delayed by “the rich people.”

While Paris Hilton may well have been on one of those private jets, she’s now working for the privilege. Far from her vacuous heiress character, she has become a social media influencer, DJ, businesswoman and now Hilton spokesperson.

At Formula One, hotels marketed guest packages fit for a ‘whale’ convention. Resorts World, with its high-end Hilton, Conrad and LXR Hilton Hotels rooms and suites, offered the luxurious 888 Package with Entourage Suite, Paddock Club tickets and Rolls Royce transport within Las Vegas for just $888,000.

Paris is well suited to promoting such glitzy properties. She is the great-granddaughter of hotel chain founder Conrad Hilton and grew up staying in Hilton hotels around the world, But as a television icon, she can also pitch the company’s message “It Matters Where You Stay,” showcasing the experience offered by Hilton’s 22 brands.

This video, for example, spoofs Paris’ wealthy socialite image while showing viewers the value of being able to book confirmed connecting rooms.

As others tout the generic virtues of travel, minimize the role of the hotel and the hotel team members and romanticize the destination, through our platform and the campaign it inspires we’re reminding travelers that ‘It Matters Where You Stay,'” said Mark Weinstein, Hilton’s chief marketing officer.

Paris Hilton is an ideal spokesperson to bring that message to two key travel groups: Millennials and women.

Research shows that 57.1 percent of US travelers are female. Worldwide, 64% of travelers are women. And whether they travel with their partners, friends or family, women make 80% of total travel decisions, such as choosing hotels.

This audience relates to Paris Hilton. Millennials not only watched her reality show antics but also grew up with her. Hilton, 42, is now a married working mother with two children. Many of Hilton’s targeted customers are at a similar point in their lives.

Hilton has been the spokesperson for her eponymous company for a year. I got to meet her before her DJ appearance at Virgin Hotel Las Vegas (a Hilton property) at Formula One. Although I’m not much of a club creature, my 24-year-old son and I both enjoyed her performance. The music she played (like a version of “Come As You Are” by Nirvana) was good, and her energy and enthusiasm got the crowd swaying.

Paris married Carter Reum, a venture capitalist, in 2021. At the meet-and-greet, Reum trailed behind in support of his glittering wife. He comically shouted in the hotel corridor, “Doesn’t anyone want a selfie with ME?” A female fan sympathetically complied.

Eventually I was ushered into the presence of Paris and did the grip-and-grin. I got to ask her one question. “How do you feel being back in the family business?”

Her face lit up.

“I feel so proud. My grandfather Baron would be so incredibly proud. He was my mentor, and we were so close. To be carrying on my family’s legacy is such an honor.

“I’m having so much fun with this brand. We are doing really incredible ad campaigns together, smart marketing—it just feels like home. I grew up with these hotels my entire life.

“It’s really special to be part of it. I’m so proud of the new commercial that just came out, it’s the most iconic thing ever. Every day I think about my grandfather and how proud he would be of me.”

It’s rare that a brand can find someone as identified with it as Paris is with Hilton. It’s even rarer for a brand to find someone with followers who have watched her evolution from party girl and TV star to wife, mother and hotel spokesperson.

As the excited crowd at her DJ set showed, Paris Hilton is someone travelers relate to, even though she’s obviously rich, famous and very, very blonde.



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